Virus Outbreak-New York

New York's new "Excelsior Pass" app is a digital pass that people can download to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

(The Center Square) – Orange County officials are launching a taxpayer-funded vaccine passport pilot program, while a state Republican lawmaker introduced legislation to ban the practice.

While the Orange County Health Care Agency says its new digital vaccine passport will “enable individuals to participate safely and with peace of mind in activities that involve interactions with other people, including travel, attractions, conferences/meetings, concerts, sports, school and more,” state Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, says it will be the “last straw” for Californians who have had it with an out-of-control state and local government.

Kiley introduced legislation to prohibit the mandating of vaccine passports “as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place.” He hopes it will be voted on in a state legislature Privacy Committee hearing on April 22.

“Having to surrender your personal health information just to go about daily life is an appalling notion, one utterly incompatible with a free society,” he said. “Passports would inevitably come to be used for other purposes, extending the ethos of control from this last year into the indefinite future.”

The administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has said “there are no current plans to impose” a vaccine passport system in the state. However, beginning April 15, state officials will allow private events to be held with a greater number of people such as at stadiums or concert venues if those attending agree to be tested for COVID-19 or show proof that they received both doses.

Newsom’s color-coded tiered lockdown system is still in place, in which Orange County currently falls in the orange tier, according to Newsom’s “Blueprint.” Under Newsom’s new guidelines, Californians could hold private events such as  wedding receptions or conferences with up to 300 guests outdoors or 150 indoors if those attending show proof of full vaccination, according to state guidelines.

To date, 598,838 Orange County residents have received two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna shots and are considered to be “fully vaccinated.” Another 589,230 residents have received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna mNRA drugs, according to county data.

On a national scale, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the federal government will not require Americans to carry vaccine passports.

“The government is not now, nor will we be supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” she told reporters last week. “There will be no federal vaccinations database and no federal mandate requiring everyone to obtain a single vaccination credential. “

So far, 18 states have passed laws or issued executive orders banning the use of vaccine passports in some form in their states.